Thursday, January 29, 2009

The easiest of tapas

Day 6: tortilla espagnola

When tapas became the new big thing - here, that is; in Spain, they'd been around since before the Moors, anyway - one of the easiest to learn and do was tortilla espagnola. It's an intriguing dish from the name on. I saw "tortilla," I thought burrito. Now, I have to think twice when I see the word.

Any proud kitchen will naturally stock the basis of Spanish tortilla: potato, egg and onion. In my early efforts, eggs played more of a role, probably because I was using the dish as dinner and felt inclined to up the ante on protein. But, in a well-prepared tortilla, eggs merely bind. The dish is largely a platform for thinly sliced potatoes and chopped onions.

And olive oil. The amount of oil that goes into a tortilla pan is beyond liberal. When you see it splashing up the sides of the pan, you're about right. I try to shoot for an amount that will be fully incorporated into the dish without rendering it completely slick, for the method of the tortilla requires the pan be upturned. Meaning, any oil residing will have to be collected - or lost, either in the kitchen sink (that's where I recommend doing your flipping) or all over the range.

I'm a cheater, at heart. I did it in school work and I do it with tortilla espagnola. Instead of inverting the half-cooked dish onto a plate and re-introducing it into saute pan to finish the other side, I toss it under the broiler until the cheese (again, cheating) begins to sizzle. It's just easier, and the fact that it ends up more like an Italian frittatta will be lost on everybody who isn't Iberian.

Cheese - good cheese, anyway - flaunts the purpose of the Seven-Day Adventurist plan, which is to save money without sacrificing taste in times of fiscal restraint. That said, go easy on the cheese, which you should anyway. And use the grana that you employed in the carbonara. The same grana that will appear in the next and last leg of the diet:

Day 7: risotto di giorno

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